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December 22, 1923


JAMA. 1923;81(25):2116. doi:10.1001/jama.1923.02650250044013

For three quarters of a century it has been known that a pigment which can be crystallized in orangecolored rhombic plates occurs in old blood extravasations. This "hematoidin" of Virchow has long been regarded as identical with the pigment bilirubin, which is a normal constituent of human bile; and the relationship is one of the widely accepted evidences of the formation of the bile pigments from the hemoglobin of the blood. It is known from direct experiment that when bilirubin is introduced into the circulation it can be "picked out" by the liver and excreted into the bile. Consequently, it has long been a question whether the biliary pigments are formed elsewhere in the body and merely eliminated by the hepatic cells, or whether the latter actually have the capacity to produce bilirubin and its derivatives within their own substance. The answer to this question has an important bearing on